Bikini baron in football club bid

Bikini baron in football club bid
Sweden's self-styled king of swimwear Panos Papadopoulos is in negotiations with football club Ljungskile over a possible name change.

Finding itself in need of a financial boost since securing promotion to the top flight last October, the club is considering changing its name to Panos Ljungskile — for the second time.

In 1997, the last time Ljungskile played in Allsvenskan, the creator of the Panos Emporio swimwear line stumped up some badly needed cash. As a result, the club bore his name from 1997 until 2002.

Reactions to the name change were mixed, with many sports journalists slamming the move.

“But people in the village liked it. They even talked about renaming the village Panos Ljungskile,” said Papadopoulos.

“Sometimes when trains pass through, they still say ‘next stop Panos Ljungskile’,” he added with a laugh.

While very much interested in sponsoring the club, Papadopoulos said he was not sure a name change was the right way to go this time.

“But the club is still interested in changing the name. We are discussing different options and expect to reach a decision next week,” he said.

Contrary to a popular misconception, Papadopoulos has no official connection to the village of Ljungskile, population 3,500.

“I just loved their story. Like me, they were an outsider. People said they had no place at the top level, but they played good football and got results,” he said.

Papadopoulos lives in Gothenburg, 65 kilometres from Ljungskile, and tries to go to games whenever he can.

“Everybody thinks I live there. But the first time I went to talk to them I almost got lost. I didn’t know where it was,” he said.